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Fortnite vs. Warzone: Which battle royale should you play?

Two of the most popular and successful battle royale games are Call of Duty: Warzone and Fortnite. Both of them are free, iterative, and ever-changing, and both feature compelling gameplay that keeps players coming back for more. If you’ve spent time with both of these games, you’re probably already aware of which one is for you — or perhaps you like them equally. But newcomers might not be so sure.

Despite the growing success of battle royale games, there are still millions of players who might either be on the fence about trying them, or are intimidated due to their complicated nature. Since we’ve spent a considerable amount of time with both Warzone and Fortnite, we’ve got all the details about which one might be for you. Both are fantastic games that excel at different things, so it’s worth being aware of how they differ so you know where to spend your time.

Here’s our comparison of Fortnite vs. Warzone.

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Ease of entry

Promo material for Zero Build featuring four characters from Fortnite.

Intimidation. That’s likely one of the reasons that stop some players from jumping into either one of these games. Right off the bat, it’s clear Fortnite is easier to get into because it’s far less complicated than Warzone. That isn’t a knock against Fortnite — its simplicity is a strength. We imagine a newcomer being overwhelmed with the sheer number of things to do in Warzone even before starting a match.

The biggest hurdle to overcome in Warzone is the loadout customization, which allows you to set your own gear to use in a match. There are around 130 primary weapons, dozens of secondary options, perks, and various equipment types — most of which need to be unlocked. But beyond that are the weapon attachments such as optics, muzzles, different ammo types, and grips to improve recoil control. Many primary weapons have around 40 to 50 different attachments to unlock, so things can quickly get out of control in the customization department. To a new player, this can be a turnoff, especially if you’re going up against other participants with maxed-out weapons.

Fortnite also has a slew of weapons with different stats and features, but since they all appear throughout the map as floor loot, it’s easier to simply jump in and play — whereas Warzone players spend a huge portion of time tweaking and leveling up different weapons to maximize their effectiveness. There’s a bit more luck involved in Fortnite since it always comes down to what you can find out in the world, but if you play your cards right, you can obtain better gear.

Ultimately, there’s merit to Warzone‘s deep systems, but unless you have an experienced friend to walk you through everything, it’s easy to see why players would drop off early.

Fortnite also has a more welcoming art style (more on that below), featuring vibrant colors that are generally appealing. Warzone, on the other hand, looks like a military first-person shooter, with lots of subdued colors that frankly look muddy at times.

Constantly changing

Hudson from Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

Battle royale games are appealing because they always change. If you played Fortnite when it first came out and then tried it out today, it might feel like two completely different games. The map has evolved, the story itself feels like something you’d see in a major blockbuster movie, there are lots of new modes, and the game has more cosmetics than you can count. On top of that, numerous in-game events occur semi-regularly, drawing millions of concurrent players together to experience each. One particular event was the in-game Travis Scott concert, which drew a crowd of over 12 million players.

Warzone has changed a lot since launch, as well, though it was slow to start evolving. The main map, Verdansk, has converted to a 1984 version to correlate with Black Ops Cold War, and then replaced entirely by Caldera, which correlated to Call of Duty: Vanguard. Interestingly, each annual Call of Duty release will coincide with Warzone going forward, meaning the battle royale will go through major changes to its setting and weapons, depending on the mainline installment that launches each fall. The biggest issue is that — although the game does undergo substantial changes sometimes — they aren’t as frequent as the ones that appear in Fortnite. On top of that, some of these Warzone changes can severely break the game, causing weird visual glitches, or mechanical bugs that ruin the game. These issues are less frequent these days but still happen more than you’d expect.

It seems like each week, Fortnite gets something new, whether it’s a fresh NPC to interact with around the map, an event, a mode, or a point of interest to visit. While most of these additions aren’t game-changing, they’re frequent enough to make the game feel fresh. And every few months, a new version of the map is added, with various updates to landmarks that tie to the ongoing story.

The most frequent types of changes Warzone receives are to its weapons, which aren’t as noticeable as a new map, NPC, or mode. While there’s something to be said about the game’s meta constantly shifting, it’s tough for a new player to get excited about an assault rifle gaining a slight boost to its recoil control, or a new sniper that works similarly to the one that came before it. Looking at both games, on the whole, Fortnite‘s updates are frankly more frequent, more exciting, and better executed than what you’d find in Warzone. It’s possible Activision will start implementing more reasons to check out Warzone each week, but as it stands, Fortnite takes the cake in this category.

It is worth mentioning that Warzone recently implemented a massive event that featured Godzilla and King Kong, which offered plenty of dumb fun, but still felt lackluster, especially compared to Fortnite’s offerings.

It’s all in the presentation

Four characters overlooking crashed ship in Fortnite.

The most obvious difference between both games is how they look and sound. Fortnite consists of vibrant, flat colors with less of an emphasis on realism, while Warzone is the exact opposite (though still has its own style). Evaluating both games’ aesthetics is much tougher to do since it comes down to preference, but it’s worth pointing out that Warzone feels more immersive since it looks closer to reality. Though, immersion doesn’t always equal fun.

Fortnite is great because its visual style allows it to include skins and cosmetics from many famous TV shows, movies, comics, and games. What other game lets you play as Kratos from God of War, Batman, and Rick Sanchez from Rick and Morty? Because of the art style, Epic Games can pretty much get away with adding any famous character to Fortnite. Warzone has its fair share of licensed characters such as Billy the Puppet from the Saw series, Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and even Judge Dredd. But as you can see, there’s less room for variation in Warzone than in Fortnite in this regard.

When it comes to aesthetics, it’s tough to select a winner, as we appreciate both for what they bring to the table. It ultimately comes down to realism vs. variety. Fortnite definitely gets points for its vast number of characters, though playing as the Ghostface Killer from Scream in Warzone is an absolute treat.

Moment-to-moment

Warzone operator with rockets.

Above all else, arguably the most important aspect of a battle royale is its gameplay. Is it fun? Is the moment-to-moment experience compelling and worth revisiting? Frequent updates, beautiful art, and fan-favorite character skins mean little if the game isn’t actually fun to play. Warzone and Fortnite are both a joy to play, but the experiences you’ll have across each are vastly different, even if both are battle royale shooters.

The main takeaway is that Fortnite is easier than Warzone, due in part to the skill-based matchmaking. We wish we could dive into the specifics of how skill-based matchmaking works across each game, but their developers don’t divulge any information about it, so as to not allow players to exploit the system. From our experience, the matchmaking in Fortnite seems to be a lot looser, wherein you’ll get paired up with a wider skill gap of players. Warzone, on the other hand, tends to pair you with players who are much closer to your own skill level. There are pros and cons to both of these methods, but at the end of the day, your tastes will dictate which you prefer.

Aside from sheer difficulty, Warzone tends to be more complex than Fortnite, mechanically speaking. Utilizing weapons is harder since they’re more nuanced, and your view is restricted since it’s in first-person, as opposed to the third-person perspective in Fortnite. Cash/currency is way more important in Warzone since your survival is dictated by the weapons you have, and the best firearms need to be purchased within a match. There’s a greater sense of verticality in Warzone, which adds to the nuance, but Fortnite has been experimenting with this a lot more recently, as evidenced by the new airship points of interest around the map.

Fortnite does get a little more in-depth with its building mechanics, but even at its peak, creating structures doesn’t scratch the surface of how complicated Warzone can get. Plus, Fortnite recently implemented a set of Zero Build modes, which completely remove the building mechanic, making it even simpler. You have to account for so many things in the Call of Duty battle royale, such as your own footsteps (or your teammates’), whether or not a buy station has already been visited by your opponents, the placement of vehicles, where players are during a UAV, and countless other situations. Even after putting an absurd amount of time into Warzone — over a thousand hours — it’s feasible to continue to come across new mechanics you might not have known about before.

Warzone feels like the stakes are higher, and it ends up being a more rewarding experience due to how deep its systems are. The feeling of pulling off a well-timed snipe or a sneaky split-second decision that leads to a victory never gets old in Warzone, and for that, it takes the edge over Fortnite. There’s beauty in Fortnite‘s simplicity, but for us, Warzone‘s depth is far more satisfying.

Other differences

Godzilla and King Kong battling in Warzone.
Warzone’s recent Operation Monarch event featured Godzilla and King Kong.

There are a few other key differences to make note of before coming up with a verdict. Fortnite has a clear advantage because it’s available on more platforms. Pretty much every modern gaming device imaginable supports Fortnite, such as mobile, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, and Nintendo Switch. Warzone, on the other hand, is only available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. So from a pure practicality standpoint, it’s easier to get your hands on Fortnite since it’s available on more devices. Not to mention Warzone has a comically large install size across all platforms, making it a tough pill to swallow.

Additionally, Warzone is notorious for its technical issues, so much so, that Activision is actually making a new Warzone game from scratch, implementing many of the things the team has learned from the first iteration. At this point, things have gotten better in Warzone, but weird visuals, long load times, cheaters, and other issues still run the gamut. Fortnite has its fair share of issues, as well, but they’re nowhere near as bad as the ones you’d find in Warzone. In addition, Warzone was known for its incessant cheater problem, though this has improved with the release of the Ricochet anti-cheat system in 2021.

Verdict

Battle Bus in Fortnite.

Both of these beloved games are for two slightly different audiences. One is aimed at everyone while the other is meant for more mature players (though, that doesn’t stop immature people from playing). From a polish perspective, Fortnite comes out on top, with far more updates that feel meaningful, and fewer cheaters. There’s a ton of appeal in Fortnite, with references to so many beloved characters from pop culture. And it’s frankly easier to get your hands on Fortnite than Warzone, due to the number of platforms that support it.

Which you choose comes down to skill, personal taste, and the platforms you have at your disposal. If you’re more into FPS games, we recommend Warzone. If you like getting down into the nitty-gritty of weapon stats, and aren’t afraid to look at spreadsheets and maybe even do math, we recommend Warzone. If you’re simply looking for something to dive into semi-regularly without having to keep up with the current meta and other factors, Fortnite might be for you.

Both are fantastic, offering vastly different experiences that are worth checking out.

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